Locals who spoke to The Zimbabwean said they walked the streets of the city centre in fear.
“I was working as a photographer for the Mr Ugly contest and a group of rowdy street kids accosted me on my way home. I had to use my tripod as a weapon to free myself,” said one journalist.
One woman said the groups were out to get jewellery.
“I was attacked by a group of four boys and they took my necklace. I was in a state of shock and when I told other people, many of them had the same story,” said Tsitsi Muzenda.
School children have also fallen prey to the notorious gangs.
“They mainly target food. We no longer eat in the streets because they grab our food and run away. We cannot do anything because they threaten to beat us up,” said a college student.
Some of the jewellery is sold at Avondale flea markets.
“The vendors buy jewellery from street children. Some of them send the kids out to steal jewellery for them,” said stall owner, Ratidzai Muchenje.
Youth Information and Education for Behaviour Change Trust programmes manager, David Chidende, said there was a need for the government to look into the problems faced by street children.
“What these children are doing is wrong but at the same time I think the government has a huge role to play in making sure that these children are taken care of,” said Chidende. “The government also needs to enhance its social work department and provide these people with alternative accommodation.”Post published in: News